The centralized family of musicians, creatives, artists, managers & supporters are spread all over the world. Literally. From Taiwan to LA, from Joburg to Tel Aviv, from London to Lagos, from Maine to Miami.
But now we are all in a whole new reality together, with many of us wondering when the next gig might be and how we might pay the bills until they come back. We are being forced by circumstances outside of our control to stop, to stay in one place.
And surely there is no better time than now to Stop & Breathe.
To take care of yourself, so you can take care of others around you.
This email is not about anything to do with growing your audience, it's not about setting up live streams or patreon pages. (All of those and others are just fine if that’s what you need to do right now.)
This is about YOUR health and well being.
The creative spark of this email started a few weeks ago, before the virus shut everything down. I was lucky enough to be walking down one of those magical streets where live music wafted out of multiple cafes and bars, where buskers played on all corners.
I was with a friend, Dudi Shaul. He also happens to be a very fine guitarist. On his Spanish guitar, he explores links and spaces between music from Morocco and Brazil. The human slave trade along this route from hundreds of years ago established a connection in music, rhythm, spiritual practices and celebration.
We got talking down that street about health and well being… and the physical and mental demands that come from a fully committed life of music, especially on the road. The everyday energy needed to grow as an artist. The everyday commitment needed to be a real manager. It never ends.
Most of us don’t stop to rest. And it takes its toll. Eventually we can become like rats on a wheel. Until we collapse in a heap. Very rarely do we get an opportunity to just stop. To do nothing. To rest and heal.
The morning after our walk down that super sonic street, Dudi sent me this. I want to share it with you. He's got it. Give it a read:
“I approach wellbeing in the same way that I approach my music. It’s not something that I do to tick boxes or have a bash at on a Sunday afternoon. It’s a way of living, and it’s inseparable from my creative process as a musician.
Things get interesting when you realise that you can choose and direct your own thoughts. It’s simple and effortless and yet so many musicians are continuously driving themselves down into the ground by repeating thought patterns that aren’t serving them in any way towards positive growth.
It’s about attention and intention, freedom and direction. Be clear and know that every choice that you make will ultimately shape your being and your interactions with your environment and other people in your life.
Like in your music, to move forward you have to face your fears. Sometimes things will get really tough but often those are key moments for your potential to grow as a person. You have to want to change, and continue surfing the waves of change that make up your life.
I’m interested in the whole picture. Nature works as a whole and we are part of that system so for me it doesn’t make sense to separate the music from myself or my wellbeing. It all works together. Your individual path will be different to other people’s but at the end of the day everyone’s in the same boat, it doesn’t matter who you are or what situation you’re in, you always have a choice. Are you choosing out of fear or love?”
Let’s break this down now to a short list of what you need to do everyday… for the health of your body, your energy, your spirit and your mind.
1. Sleep enough. For most of us that’s 7-8 hrs a night.
2. Meditate. Yes. It’s a natural partner to music. They’re both about listening to silence.
3. Drink enough clean water. This is an essential physical need. Nothing mystical. We are 60% water. We’ve got to keep flushing ourselves out.
4. Eat clean food. This is probably hardest on the road but easiest when you are stuck in your home environment. Like we all are now :).
5. Move your body, dance, stretching, running, swimming, football, yoga, tai chi, qigong, Alexander technique. Whatever works for you.
And get to know your darker underbelly. If you know you tend to be addictive to substances, be super careful of sugar, tobacco, alcohol and chemical drugs that take you up or down; cocaine, heroine, other opiates, sleeping pills, alcohol, meth...
And even if you don’t have an addictive personality, also be super careful. All of those substances tend to self-abuse…. they will come back and bite you in the arse, hard.
Some of our power users recently asked me to set up a private facebook page where people can safely share ideas and experiences with out the risk of abuse... where you can read and contribute to other people's stories, knowledge and experience. Request access here.
Stay safe. Look after yourself. Look after each other.
This virus shall pass. And venues will re-open. And it will all start again. Right now is a precious moment. Take it for yourself.